Defending Jessica by Benna BosDefending Jessica by Benna Bos is a contemporary romance mystery with a touch of thriller.

Jessica French is an awful person. No one likes her, for good reason, and now she’s in jail for murdering her husband.

In her corner is Veronica Turner, the scariest, iciest defense attorney in San Francisco. She needs to rehabilitate Jessica’s image if not Jessica herself, so she goes to her friend Agnes for help. Agnes has a true crime podcast that might be able to sway public opinion. An added bonus is her sexy and mysterious assistant Kaia.

Kaia Kent is the sound technician and researcher for the Murder on the Bay podcast. Much as she’s attracted to Veronica, the woman also scares her half to death. If Veronica wants to get close to Kaia, she must overcome Kaia’s shyness, nervousness, and a pesky new girlfriend.

Working together to defend Jessica is just the start.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Mildred: The ice in Veronica’s blood thaws really easily for Kaia, and both women have to overcome some serious doubts about themselves and the possibility of romance. While I am as susceptible to ice queens as most readers, I appreciate it when that character isn’t actively mean to the romantic interest, especially someone like Kaia. She’s so nice, and so earnest that I just wanted to grab her up and cuddle her.

Rach: I’m also a sucker for an ice queen and Veronica is icy. Her no-nonsense take charge attitude gave me shivers and she reeled me in from the start. I agree that I really love how Veronica turned to goo for Kaia from the moment she laid eyes on her. She is feared by most and has walls up to protect her from people knowing her vulnerabilities. It was so delicious watching her open up to Kaia and show her some of her fears. Veronica is dealing with the fact that she’s not as ‘straight’ as she’s always thought. Couple that with the fact that her last relationship has left her questioning if she is worthy of romantic love, and you can see why she’s such a mess when it comes to Kaia. I adored how her filter broke around Kaia and she just kept on spewing out what she thought or wanted. Watching an ice queen fall hard and fast for their person is a beautiful thing. Seeing this competent capable woman turn into a babbling mess was both funny and heartwarming.

Mildred: Kaia’s struggle with eating was treated with respect, and I liked that she found a lot of empathy and help from the people around her. Of course, she’s such a sweetheart who could resist being helpful? I enjoyed Veronica’s family. It’s nice to read about a large family that has enough love to adopt a lost person and make her theirs

Rach: Kaia is shy but fiery. She lives with Celiac disease and has struggled with not fitting in her whole life. This has led to her not trusting easily. She is not always comfortable in social settings and tends to avoid questions about herself. She loves her job but lacks some self-confidence, it surprises her when the icy attorney actually helps to build her up, instead of tare her down. The author did a great job at explaining how living with Celiac has affected Kaia, it was enlightening and made me understand the character. Kaia has one icy dealing with Veronica over the phone, then finds out about her reputation and decides she will never like her. However, her heart has a different idea and the more time she spends with the difficult, alluring woman, the harder it is to not fall deep.

Mildred: The mystery is pretty good, and when we meet a bad guy it was a shivery moment. There is some good situational humor and dialogue, and descriptions are often subtle rather than a long explanation.

I have long applauded the people who do the hard work of trying to make a creaky justice system work. Veronica, Kaia and Agnes are heroes so far as I’m concerned.

Rach: Both the mystery and the romance in the book made me not want to put it down, so I didn’t. I finished this book in a day because I needed to know what was happening with the mystery and who was behind it. More importantly though, I couldn’t stop reading about the leading ladies and was willing them to be together. Veronica and Kaia are so perfect for each other, and I could tell that they would give each other the happiness they deserve.

Cons And Heads Up

There is talk of past physical abuse within a relationship

The sex scenes are fade to black, although this did not bother me at all.

The Conclusion

Mildred: Though it is part of a series, Defending Jessica is an easy standalone read that works well all the way around. The writing is good, the characters are very likeable, and it’s a solid mystery.

Rach: Defending Jessica is a romantic, mystery, suspense that will keep you turning the page. The characters are well developed, and the storyline is good. There is a cast of friends and family you will love and villains you will hate.

Veronica is an ice queen attorney that is feared by all, but she has the most amazing loving family that keeps her grounded. She falls fast and melts quickly when she meets Kaia, the shy but fiery woman her friend has just hired. But it seems Kaia doesn’t feel the same way and rejects Veronica’s advances. These two ladies must work together to solve a mystery and save Veronica’s latest client from jail time. However, at first the more time they spend together the less Kaia seems to like Veronica. Just as Veronica is resigned to the fact that she can never have what she wants with Kaia, they turn a corner and Veronica jumps at the opportunity to show Kaia that they can be together.

The Mystery Veronica and Kaia must solve together is dangerous and fraught with suspense. I worked out who was behind it before it was revealed but that took nothing away from the story and I enjoyed the twists and turns throughout.   

This book ticks lots of boxes for me. It’s an age gap, coming out, workplace, ice queen romance with a good mystery, suspense storyline, and a beautiful romance between two characters who are perfect for each other. If you also like these tropes then this book is for you.

Excerpt from Defending Jessica by Benna Bos

It only took a moment for Veronica to make up her mind. That’s how she’d always been. Snap decision, that’s what her father called it. He said it was a gift. Her mother thought it was a curse. But Veronica knew her instincts had helped her clients many times over. On that gritty San Francisco sidewalk in front of the jail moments ago, Veronica made a decision that just might save Jessica French’s life. And she intended to act on it.


Something about caller ID pissed her off. She missed being able to tell the person on the other line who she was. Maybe it was a sense of entrance. Veronica liked to make an entrance. “Hi, Agnes. Do you have a minute?”

“For you, always.” Veronica smirked. Having people owe her created collateral she was always willing to take advantage of. That she had represented Agnes’s wife when she was accused of murder was about to pay off. “I need a favor.”

“Anything. You know that.” 

I’m representing Jessica French.”

“I heard. Did you go see her yet? Is she as awful as they say?”

Veronica let out a breath. “Worse.”

“Damn. I’m sorry. I heard Malcolm talked you into it. He trained her dog, right?”

Veronica rolled her eyes. Even though Agnes couldn’t see it, she was pretty sure the sentiment came across in her voice.

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Murder by the Bay

Investigating Helen

Defending Jessica


Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9781619294868

Publisher: Flashpoint Publications

Benna Bos Online


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